Back to School sales in January

I make no secret of the fact that I homeschool my children. In order to make sure my kids are enjoying the journey and learning as much as possible, we use colors, colored paper, colored pencils, glue, and other consumable school supplies frequently. Perhaps more (although I wouldn’t know) than your average schooled child. It seems that no matter how many $.25 notebooks I buy in August, by January all I have left are dog-eared and used up. The crayons are broken and lost. The colored pencils, long since sharpened to nubs. The glue more of a stick than sticky.

backtoschoolsaleI mentioned this to close friends last year and they all agreed with me. We need a back-to-school sale. In January. The store that decides to finally do this will have my business. Everything that they have on sale from July 5th-September (whenever Labor day falls on a given year) needs to go back on sale for 2 weeks in January. Trust me on this, it would be a bigger deal than throwing out the Valentine’s Day stuff a month early.

We homeschoolers can’t be the only ones with this issue. Surely, schooled children have holey jeans and notebooks in need of replacement? Wouldn’t it be nice to restock your pencils and pens right after the Christmas rush? I know I could wait an extra few weeks to see bright pink hearts and red smootchy lips all over the stores.

Nothing says, “I love you” like a new box of staples or post-it notes. ;)

For the Love of Repeat

Pete and Repeat were sitting on a fence, Pete fell off and who was left? My father used that saying all the time when we were little to get us to be quiet. As a mother of four, I understand that occasional need for peace. Who am I kidding, my house is boisterously loud from 8AM to 9PM. My occasional frustration with either the noise level or the infighting amongst the crew has lead to more than one use of the expression, “For the Love of Pete!” by yours truly.

This morning, my youngest son, who is two, climbed back up into my bed completely absent of clothing save his diaper. He had taken off one pair of jammies and was attempting to put on another. No small task considering they were inside-out footie pajamas. He fought with the arms for a few minutes and I heard him get frustrated, then he grumbled, and finally I heard him growl, “a love-a Pete!” and he threw the offending jammies to me to fix.

I righted his clothing and put them on him, laughing the whole time which, of course, made him repeat the phrase over and over. I was a little embarrassed at first, but of all the things he could have learned from me to say in frustration, I have to admit, this was rather mild, and I definitely needed the laugh.

Our Sweet Azure

Azure came to us from a pet store in Shakopee, MN almost 15 years ago. When she was a kitten she looked like a Siamese. She had cream colored fur with seal colored tips and the strangest light blue eyes and her whiskers were crimped. We were smitten with her immediately and brought her home to keep our Booter Man company. We were told she was a tortie-tabby seal point, which, to us meant ~ mutt.

She was an incredibly opinionated and loud. As she grew, she became more and more mottled, after a few years her whiskers straightened out. She had the most huge paws, without having extra digits that I’ve ever seen. She would snuggle right up to Matt’s neck and would not stand to be held or touched by anyone but him for the first eight years of her life.

She eventually decided that I was alright and she would snuggle my feet at night. She would purr and nuzzle and merp at people whom she deemed worthy. Not many of my friends ever got to see her, she was a run and hide cat whenever anyone was about.

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Last August, Azure lost about half of her weight and her ears turned all yellow with jaundice. She stopped eating and drinking. We thought we’d lost her then, she rallied but never gained weight. In fact, she continued to slowly lose weight and limp around, her hip was bothering her and we realized she was losing her sight.

She left our family tonight and I will miss her terribly. My heart aches for the kitty who came to us before I had children of my own. Azure will always hold a place in our hearts, she cannot be replaced. Rest in peace my sweet, grumpy kitty. There is a spot at the end of my bed that no other cat can fill.

100 Blessings

When I was young, so many long years ago, I would anxiously await the day after Thanksgiving. That day, unlike any other in the year, meant something special to me. It was the day that my family would put up our old Christmas tree. Every year we had the same arguments…not enough lights…too many ornaments on one side. I still cherish those memories of it, even if my mother hated it.

Try as I might, I am no super-mom. The tree doesn’t always go up on the day after Thanksgiving, but it does go up. We, my husband and I, make a concerted effort to make it a fun time for the kids because we do like the tree once it’s up. It is the getting to that point that is the issue. I want so much not to hate it like I knew my mother did.

Inevitably, the tree gets buried under 12 months of other stored items, so it must be dug out, dusted off, and then each individual branch needs to be bent out and made to look as natural as a 15-year-old plastic tree can. Then there’s the lights. We won’t go there, next time I am buying a pre-lit tree.

Last year, my children learned that the ornaments on a Christmas tree were to represent blessings that you’ve received. We resolved to say a blessing with each ornament that was placed on the tree, not just for the special annual ornaments that I’ve bought every year, but for the bulbs and other baubles too. The kids did not forget this lesson.

80d30df5-86be-367d-8dd3-770e6e767212Expectantly, each child (all four) grabbed an ornament and one-by-one started calling out blessings as they raced to put each one on the tree. Even Gabe, who is only a little more than two, would say someone’s name as he put his little decorations on tree limbs that daddy pointed out. For the first time in years, putting up the tree ended on a very happy note. I was amazed at how easily the children thought of things to call out, even lamenting when the ornaments were gone that they’d forgotten some.

I needed that little reminder, as that is the one part of Christmas that has become hard for me, that the tree can be joyful again. It does have a purpose in our Christmas and it is more than just something pretty to look at. The star on the top reminds us of the celestial guide for the shepherds and wise men, the ornaments of our blessings, the evergreen of the tree a reminder that God’s love is never-ending, and the shape of the tree points to the heavens, a reminder that this is not our true home.

12 Years of Hope

faithhasmadeyouwell

Mark 5:25-34

In the crowd was a woman who had been suffering from chronic bleeding for twelve years. Although she had been under the care of many doctors and had spent all her money, she had not been helped at all. Actually, she had become worse. Since she had heard about Yeshua, she came from behind in the crowd and touched his clothes. She said, “If I can just touch his clothes, I’ll get well.” Her bleeding stopped immediately. She felt cured from her illness. At that moment, Yeshua felt power had gone out of him. He turned around in the crowd and asked, “Who touched my clothes?”

                His disciples said to him, “How can you ask, ‘Who touched me,’ when you see the crowd pressing you on all sides?”

                But he kept looking around to see the woman who had done this. The woman trembled with fear. She knew what had happened to her. She quickly bowed in front of him and told him the whole truth.

                Yeshua told her, “Daughter, your faith has made you well. Go in peace! Be cured from your illness.” God’s Word Version ~ Names of God Bible.

This story is in every book on healing I’ve ever read, books on healing by faith and books about healing in God’s time. It is a lovely story, but I think each and every time I read it in one of those books I have to shake myself because, at least to my mind, they are missing the main point. As someone who has been praying for healing for a decade, I can acutely feel this woman’s anguish at feeling like the Father does not hear. Now, granted, there are a few things she had to deal with that I don’t. For one, she had a bleeding disorder which meant that she would have been considered unclean…for twelve whole years. Can you imagine being shunned from a community for twelve years, yet not losing faith? If she had a husband, he couldn’t touch her or go near her. Like me, she had been under the care of many doctors who did not help and in fact seemed to make things worse as she had spent all her money. I can totally relate to that!

Here is what I pull from the story though. After 12 years of suffering, not just from bleeding, but financial ruin and being ostracized, she still had the faith to seek out Yeshua/Jesus. She knew that she could not touch him personally, that would make him unclean, that is why she is so embarrassed and seems like she doesn’t want to admit even touching his clothes. She probably didn’t want anyone to even notice she was there. Technically, even though she was immediately healed, she wouldn’t have been clean for another seven days. It was a big deal for her to risk finding Jesus, but he doesn’t get angry, he doesn’t condemn. Her faith has set her free! I picture Him in my mind smiling at her and maybe even reaching out to touch her arm to let her know (and the crowd) that it was alright.

I may never see my back healed in my lifetime, or I could get healed in an instant. I will continue to have faith that it is always possible. The woman in the story may have bled the rest of her life if she had lost faith. If she had become bitter she could never have been used in the powerful way that she has been used. Through her story, I continue to have hope, even when to others it seems foolish to keep it.

Santa Looked a Lot Like a Cowboy ~ Jenny Hammerle

Santa Looked A Lot Like A CowboySanta Looked A Lot Like A Cowboy by Jenny Hammerle
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Cassie meets Gunner at a Christmas party; he’s Santa to her elf. While both have baggage to overcome, they find that they can’t stay apart. It is a sweet little romance that happens within the span of two and a half months. Guy meets girl, guy likes girl, guy rescues girl. Perfect recipe for a quick novella.

I liked the characters in this book and got into the story quickly. It only takes a few hours to read and nothing is confusing about the characters or the storyline. In fact, the only negative I have (and it is minor) is that it could use a little editing though it is more finished than the majority of eBooks that I see. I would certainly read more from this author.

View all my reviews

Identity, by Ted Dekker

I made a goal to read 60 books this year, in addition to the books I read aloud for home school and Bible study books. I am not even sure I should count this one.

Identity (Eyes Wide Open, #1)Identity by Ted Dekker
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

It says in the description that this book can be read three ways, this is the way that drew me in “1. As an episodic story. Read Eyes Wide Open as four shorter sequential “episodes” much like your favorite TV show. The ride starts with IDENTITY which is FREE in ebooks. Think of it as the pilot, offered free. If you like the story, continue with MIRRORS, UNSEEN and the grand finale, SEER. Begin the story for FREE now. Or…” Here is the rub, a TV episode has a beginning, middle, and resolution, this book barely counts. It is little more than an introduction to two characters and what to expect from the next three installments that you must buy. I have read series books before, I do tend to really enjoy them, this one just does not cut it.

It is well-written which is typical of Dekker books, even a typo about the locket being from either Walmart or Target, mentioned in other reviews at Amazon is potentially a way to make those who read his books think that the reality of the beginning of the book isn’t necessarily the reality of the entirety of the story (or it could just be a typo, if I ever buy the rest of the series I will know). Also typical of Dekker books is that moment in the book when you must decide if you will continue to read this, because you know it is going to scare you in a psychological way. You know, if you have read any of his other books, that every story gets to a point that addresses common psychological fears, and forces you to deal with those fears. That is what makes him an excellent writer.

One small point of contention though, beyond the Walmart/Target locket, is in the end he makes a point of telling you how Christy’s hair is done up, then just a few paragraphs later, talks about running her hands through her hair, that should have been caught in editing.

View all my reviews

If you are reading this, and would like a review of your book, are in need of a freelance editor, or beta reader, feel free to contact me through my editing email at editorsnote@outlook.com.

I managed to finish…barely

My Christmas knitting was rather rushed this year. I had 3 pairs of socks, one hat, one scarf, one purse, three neck gaiters in two patterns, a calorimetry, a headband, and a pair of fingerless mitts to make. I cast my first item around the 20th of October. I still managed to home school and keep up with the house, or at least in my imagination I did. Since this is a blog and it therefore lends itself to being somewhat braggish, I am going to post a few pictures of my FO’s (Finished Objects, for those not in-the-know).

001

This was one of my favorite items to knit, it turned out really well. I used this pattern, I love how it looks like stockinette stitch on both sides and does not curl up. The one drawback was all the ends to weave in.

002

This is a pair of socks I knit for my mother-in-law, it is the Nutkin pattern with the exception that I did not do the cuff as stated. I was worried that if the cuff twisted, I would not have time to tear it out and do it over, so I did a k2,p2 cuff instead. If you don’t have a ravelry account, you won’t be able to follow that link, just google nutkin sock and it will take you to a download of the pattern.

003

I can’t post the link to this pair, it is from 2-at-a-Time Socks , if you have the book, the pattern is called mixed berries. I love the color on these, they were for my mom who loves both reds and purples.

This year, I will be smarter and start my Christmas gifts in June or earlier. I felt really rushed this whole season, I missed reading and knitting for pleasure. Crafting for a gift should be fun, I waited way too long and it became work. I hope that all the crafters on my reader list made better choices about starting their projects this season and I hope everyone had a blessed and Merry Christmas.

Links to some of my other gifts are, calorimetry, I can’t find the purse pattern I used, but I will update with a link once I do, the other patterns for the cowl, fingerless mits, and socks were taken (sort of) out of One Skein Wonders.

The second almost never-ending sweater

About a week ago, after ripping it out 13 hours into it, I finished my second almost never-ending sweater.  You can see my first sweater here.  I might just have to think of a new name for these accursed things.  I finally found my gauge mojo with this one and it almost, sort-of fits my little Randa, it is much smaller and more fitted than the first monstrosity.  I used needles two sizes smaller than my first go-round (ha, ha) and made it in one smaller size, because Randa is two years younger, and smaller, and did not want a robe.  The only thing I will add after this publication is a fastener of some sort to the front, she would like it to stay closed.  I did not put a button hole in it, so I am thinking a pin or shawl stick would be our best bet.  This was knit with Knitpicks sport weight acrylic (I know, don’t judge), called Brava.  It was the first acrylic that I have used that did not squeak as I was knitting and drive me insane…er.  Miranda picked the colors, she loves the patriotic blue and red, they must be bold and bright, just like her.

Both my girls have decided they would love circle sweaters for their 18″ dolls.  I want to poke my eyes out with my needles.  If I do devise a circle sweater pattern for dolls, that I don’t completely hate, I will post it here, maybe.  I am not sure that I want to be known for these travesties of body shape.

Now for pics, because, pics or didn’t happen, right More

Jade’s Peace

Jade's Peace (A WMC Novel)Jade’s Peace by Melissa Stevens
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I was a beta reader for this book and it was given to me free, it in no way guarantees a positive review.

This story is full of little discoveries. If you have read the short story that comes before Jade’s Peace, Escape, then you have met a few of the characters, though I had not read the prequel and it did not leave me feeling like I missed part of the story.

Jade is in search of truth, and perhaps a mate, but truth for sure. She comes in search of someone she has not seen in a decade to find out if she was too young then to feel what she was sure she did. Jade also has a big, deep, dark secret that could threaten her chance of ever completing her truth-finding mission.

This is a kitsune book, but is not part of the Change, Hunt, Fight series, cougars as opposed to wolves. I enjoyed this book and found the characters to be more developed in this story, the conversations flowed even better than in past books, I liked this book and found it to be a fun read.

View all my reviews

From Amazon: Steve left his hometown to avoid doing something he knew he would regret. Now, ten years later, the girl he left to avoid has come looking for him, but she’s not a child anymore. Jade has spent the last six years haunted by memories and nightmares. At a turning point in her life, she’s tired of waiting for something to change. She tracks down the only person she’s ever been drawn to, a man she hasn’t seen in more than ten years. But can she convince him that their differences don’t matter, that together they can both find peace?
This book is part of the White Mountain Chanat (WMC) series which starts with Escape and follows with Jade’s Peace and I can assume that more will be coming.

And of course a teaser, courtesy of Melissa Stevens:

JV’s eyes snapped open.
Something woke her. What?
She glanced around and it came back to her. She was in the guest bedroom at Nick and Rebecca’s, alone in the house because Rebecca had an appointment and Nick and Bobby had taken her to town. They’d offered to let her tag along, but she suspected it was personal, so she’d plead exhaustion. After they’d gone, she lay on her borrowed bed, hoping to get a little sleep.
She looked at the alarm clock on the nightstand, 3:37. She’d slept less than half an hour. Looking around the room, she wondered again what had woken her.
The floor outside her door creaked.
Someone was in the house.
There hadn’t been enough time for the others to make the appointment and be back. Panic raced through her, turning her body hot, then cold. She slid one hand silently under the spare pillow and pulled her pistol from the holster she’d hidden there.
Rolling onto her back, she aimed at the bedroom door. It wasn’t an ideal position to shoot from, but she could make it work.
The rapid thump of her heart was the only sound in the room as the knob turned and the door swung slowly inward.
“Jade?” Steve’s voice was soft.
Recognizing his voice, Jade let out the breath she’d been holding and lifted the barrel of her .38 until it pointed at the ceiling, “Yeah?”
The door swung open and revealed Steve standing in the hallway. She saw a look of concern on his face for an instant, then it darkened as he marched to the side of the bed and took the .38 from her loosened grip “What are you doing in my Khan’s house with a gun?.” He scented the air. “How did you get it in here without anyone smelling it?”
“I’m a woman who’s lived and traveled alone for a number of years. I learned some time ago being armed isn’t a bad idea.”
She rolled away and off the opposite side of the bed, landing so she stood facing him. “As for no one scenting it, I’ve had a problem with shifters trying to tell me I don’t need it, or trying to take it away. I figured out how to mask the scent so that’s no longer an issue.”
“What if it had been Rebecca at your door?” he scowled.
“Rebecca had an appointment in town. Nick and Bobby went with her. They left a little over an hour ago. They said they’d be gone for two to three hours. I was alone, sleeping. The sound of someone else in the house woke me. It couldn’t have been Rebecca, but I didn’t know it was you. All I knew was that I wasn’t alone and I should have been.”
Steve faltered. He looked down at the weapon, it looked small in his large hand, then back at her. “All right, I’ll grant you that one. But I can’t have anyone other than my Khan having a gun in his house.” He held one hand up, stopping her from protesting. “I know you have no intention of hurting them, but I can’t allow anyone, not even you, Jade, to have a gun in the house.”
She took a deep breath and let it out in a rush. She wanted to argue. She wanted to insist she wasn’t giving up her gun, but she knew it would only give Steve a reason to run her off. “I can lock it in my truck. Will that be good?”
He was silent for several heartbeats, his eyes never leaving her. “I’ll accept that. Do you have any other weapons? Knives? Anything?”
JV rolled her eyes, “No. What need do I have for knives? I have claws.”
His brows lifted, “You’re carrying a gun, but no knives. Are you worried about anything specific? Are you being followed?”
“No other weapons and I’m not being followed.” she ignored the part about what she was worried about.
“Do you know how to use this thing?” Steve looked at the revolver again. He thumbed the release and flipped the cylinder open. He pulled one round out and looked at it a moment, laying one finger against the tip of the bullet before putting it back in the chamber and, with a quick twist of his wrist, flipping the cylinder closed. He looked up at her, waiting for her to answer.
“Of course I know how to use it. My father taught me how to handle a pistol years ago. As for that particular one, I’ve put a lot of rounds through it. I’m comfortable with it.”
“All right, whatever you’re worried about isn’t one of us, or this would have silver rounds.” He held the pistol in her direction. “Keep it in your truck.”
She flipped the pillow closest to her and picked up the holster, then rounded the bed, took the pistol and holstered it.
“Unless someone is on your tail and followed you here, you should be safe in the house. We haven’t had much trouble in the last couple of years, other than usual clan crap, and that’s no danger to you.”
JV looked away, trying not to let him see how badly the thought of being unarmed bothered her. She poked the holstered weapon in the top of her purse so she could take out on her next trip. “Did you need something?” she looked back at him, expectant.
“I came in to see if you needed anything, but you didn’t answer when I called out and I got worried.”
“I was asleep.”
“I realized that when I found you on the bed.”

Jade’s Peace can be purchased through the Goodreads link above or from Amazon here: Jade’s Peace

If you are reading this and would like a review of your book or are in need of a freelance editor, feel free to contact me through my editing email at editorsnote@outlook.com.

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